A good idea is a good idea no matter where it comes from. I have just posted the Decisions post and just after my laptop battery gave out (it fails in less than 15 minutes now) I started to chat with a British couple in the Hotel here that has wifi. Clive and Dani are a former professional couple that spent several years working in Australia. Now they house sit across the world. They have been at this for a little under 2 years now and, in their words, “live out of 21 kilos”. They have rented their house out in Ringwood, Hants and placed their possessions in storage.
It appears they have no family or work ties and simply work there way around the globe because they have nothing else to do. The deal is basically this: They pay their travel and they stay in other people’s homes minding dogs, cats and, on one particular occasion, a water snail called Brian! The contracts can last anything from days to years and no money is exchanged. They buy their clothes from charity shops “in country” and the bulk of their airline weight allowance is taken up by laptops and other communication devises. They have been in Rute for about a month. What a lifestyle!? I have heard of this before but I must have looked like paralysed goldfish (open mouthed) when they were telling me all this. I was stunned by the simplicity of it all.
What a life (if you haven’t anything better to do). Writing this means I am considering it. At some point I need to come back down to earth and return home but this approach does offer the possibility of extended, comfortable travel for years. Clive and Dani no longer have a home of their own (because it is rented out) but they seem very much at ease with this way of living. The great advantage they have is they are clearly a likeminded couple who work together and enjoy the experience of living. The only down side of this lifestyle to me is the loneliness. I have met many interesting people on my trip but I miss the intimacy of a partner. Clive and Dani have that and together they seem very happy with this unusual way of living. They share their experiences with each other. I share mine with a computer and a car! Unfortunately they were Southampton FC fans and when I found this out I headed for the door before this sad illness had a chance to infect me – heaven forbid. Play Up Pompey!
Ok everyone, much as I hate to admit it, I am now 45 years old! They guys at the De Meido bar gave me a memorable night to mark it to. I hit the bar early at about 9pm and I started on Captain Morgan and Coke. One by one the regulars began to come in and the bar began to generate its usual friendly, happy and easy going atmosphere. Then the moment of lovely embarrassment. The bar gathered around me and sang “Happy Babyday” in their best English. I was truly touched and Angeles lined up the shot glasses and the dozen or so of us “downed in one” a delicious liqueur.
The hours passed and I steadily got more and more wobbly as I finished of the Captain Morgan and went on to sample the 8 year old Havana Club. Karaoke appeared on the bars big screen and Carmen and Angeles set me up to sing the first song – Yellow, by Coldplay. I sang this as a duet with a local guy who I spent most of the night talking with. He spoke only slightly more English than I did Spanish but he was a lovely man and I enjoyed our discussions about language, football and the differences between the English and Spanish cultures. Boy, can this guy sing! When it was his turn to sing a Spanish song this man lit up the bar. I have never been so close to such a talented singer as this before and I am a semi-professional musician! I loved his performances and was simply blown away by his talent. Wow!
A little later Angeles was joined by her beautiful girlfriend who she is in a civil partnership with and everyone was having a great time. 4 o’clock passed and, never wanting to be the last to leave, I said my goodbyes and went to leave. My request to leave was denied! The beautiful Carmen declared that the night was not yet over! Carmen, Eva and the gentleman I was chatting to for most of the night (whose name I can never remember – so siento Senor) and I left in 2 cars for an Arabian bar just around the corner. This was quite an experience. The inside of this Arabian tea bar just blew me away. It was full of people and the decor was Moorish arches with ornate carvings. I had not seen anything like it and the paralysed Goldfish impressions returned as I gazed around the place. It was striking.
The four of us sat out for another hour chatting about our families and the differences in day to day living between Spain and England. Carmen talked about her boyfriend, who is a Brazilian, and her young child. It was good to speak to these people away from the de Meido and get to know them a little better.
Eva is a real star. She loves to smile is very quick witted. From the first time I used de Meido she made time for me and has helped me with my Spanish. I think she takes the piss out of me a little and that is great. Those of you who know me know how much I enjoy “quick fire” banter and I think Eva is an expert at this! I can’t wait to learn more Spanish and talk with her more; I bet she is great company. What am I saying? She is great company!
We left about 5am. Carmen and Eva dropped me home where I fell asleep fully clothed on the sofa. I was nicely drunk and I had yet another brilliant night with the regulars of de Meido. I have said it before and I am saying it again now. Would this happen in England? England, listen and learn! I love these people.
Manchester Utd V Barcelona, Champions League Final
Those of you who have followed this blog will recall I met Viv Anderson in Gibraltar and spent the evening/early morning with him and yet another great night it was to. Even he however found it difficult to make a case for a Man Utd win and he used to play for them!
While I’m on the subject of Viv and that very enjoyable evening in Gibraltar, Viv delivered. If you recall he promised to send my Father his latest book and took my parents address. Guess what? He stuck to his word and my Dad received a signed hardback copy on the morning of the 27th May. What a man. Thanks Viv, both my Father and I are chuffed to bits.
The Disco – Pub de Meido is a women centric bar. As I walked from my digs I could see the Spanish men congregating in the other bars getting ready for the match. There was definitely PMT in the air – Pre-Match Tension. The de Meido was quiet and Angeles and I had a table together and settled in to watch the match. I hate Man Utd and decked out in my Portsmouth FC shirt I was definitely cheering for Barca. This isn’t going native and I would have cheered for Arsenal or Liverpool and of course my beloved Portsmouth FC. I, like most of my friends simply hate Man Utd – sorry Viv!
No doubt you know the result. Man Utd were blown away in the second half and the best team, the best team by a mile, won and made it look easy. Was that Van de Sar’s last game for Man Utd? I think it should be. I think the occasion got to him and he looked very slow to me. David-Villa’s goal was the highlight.
I went home after that. I was still feeling rough from the night before and I wanted to see and enjoy the Spanish celebrations on my walk home. It was great. They lit bonfires, fireworks were set off and the cars tooted their horns. Good for them, it was a very well deserved victory. Again, no pissed-up groups of men behaving in a threatening manner, just people enjoying themselves...
My Blog and a Big Thank You to My Readers/Followers.
I just want to say a big “thank you” to all the people who texted me to say happy birthday and complimented me on my blog. The biggest compliment of all came from my Father. Thanks Dad, your kind words were totally unexpected. I have not read any of it myself – I just write it – so I don’t know how well it reads. My blog is my travelling companion, like the Mazy. It is also my record of this fantastic trip so when I get back to England I can remember, for years to come, the things I have done and the great people I have met. If in places it may appear a little sentimental then so be it. I have tried to be as honest as I can and I’m trying to document how I feel as well as what I have seen. I make no excuses. I could have included so much more but some of these posts are quite long enough! To all of you, thank you for your support and I am glad you are enjoying these snapshots of my experiences and I hope I continue to be informative and entertaining. Writing is becoming an addiction. I always fancied being a journalist and maybe through this blog, in a small way, I have become one.
Terri and Les kindly invited me to Sunday lunch and I eagerly accepted. They are good company and they are both honest, fun and have many stories to tell. They also have a swimming pool and the offer was there to use it. The hours flew by and the food was excellent – savoury rice, salad, new potatoes and chicken marinated in lemon, garlic and Les’s secret spices. All the things I love. I got there at 330pm sharp and could not believe my watch on the way home when it told me it was gone 9 o’clock.
They overlook the huge fresh water lake here and the views are simply stunning. They appreciate just how good their lifestyle is and I think it would take something major for them to leave their lovely house and their 600 olive and fruit trees. They offer B&B at 40euro’s a night and the rooms are excellent. The largest room is on the first floor and has a generous sun terrace overlooking the lake. The location is quiet and I bet they put on an excellent breakfast. If any of my friends back home fancy touring this part of Spain I would recommend staying here. When I get back contact me and I will pass their details on to you. You won’t be disappointed.
The Next Few Days
For the last 2 weeks I have been enjoying myself and having some late nights. This is in stark contrast to the way I started my trip and as I am coming to the end of my Spring adventure I must get out of Rute and explore the great cities that lie close by; namely Cordoba and Granada. The Moorish influence is still very palpable in this part of southern Spain and my Spanish friends have assured me that these two great cities will astound me and I can’t wait to go. In many respects I think I have saved the best to last. I have housework, food shopping and other stuff to do today but tomorrow its Cordoba. I have tried to go before when Geordie was here but the parking was a nightmare so the attempt was abandoned. The morale of this story is don’t go to Cordoba on a Saturday! I’m really looking forward to this and if it is as good as everyone says than my camera is going to get a sun tan.
As ever, more to follow.